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Last Man in Tower [Hardcover]

Aravind Adiga
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 20 2011
The magnificent new novel from the million-selling Booker Prize-winning author of The White Tiger: one of the most eagerly anticipated literary novels of 2011--"a kaleidoscopic portrait of a changing Mumbai."
Guardian (Best Books of 2011)

Ask any Bombaywallah about Vishram Society--Tower A of the Vishram Co-operative Housing Society--and you will be told that it is unimpeachably pucca. Despite its location close to the airport, under the flight path of 747s and bordered by slums, it has been pucca for some fifty years. But Bombay has changed in half a century--not least its name--and the world in which Tower A was first built is giving way to a new city; a Mumbai of development and new money; of wealthy Indians returning with fortunes made abroad.

When real estate developer Dharmen Shah offers to buy out the residents of Vishram Society, planning to use the site to build a luxury apartment complex, his offer is more than generous. Initially, though, not everyone wants to leave; many of the residents have lived in Vishram for years, and many of them are no longer young. But none can benefit from the offer unless all agree to sell. As tensions rise among the once civil neighbours, one by one those who oppose the offer give way to the majority, until only one man stands in Shah's way: Masterji, a retired schoolteacher, once the most respected man in the building. Shah is a dangerous man to refuse, but as the demolition deadline looms, Masterji's neighbours--friends who have become enemies, acquaintances turned co-conspirators--may stop at nothing to score their payday.

A suspense-filled story of money and power, luxury and deprivation, and a rich tapestry peopled by unforgettable characters, not least of which is Bombay itself, Last Man in Tower opens up the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of a great city--ordinary people pushed to their limits in a place that knows none.

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Review

“A masterful storyteller. . .”
—Toronto Star

Last Man in Tower pulls off the bravura twin role of moral parable and human drama.”
The Gazette (Montreal)

 “He clearly has a knack for arresting novels that marry story and social commentary. . . . Adiga's story of the man who can't be bought is compelling.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Funny, provocative and decadent: Aravind Adiga’s Last Man in Tower is the kind of novel that’s so richly insightful about business and character that it’s hard to know where to begin singing its praises.”
The Washington Post

“Retains The White Tiger’s dynamism. . . . by turns fascinating, sensual and horrifying, as [Aravind Adiga’s] writing takes an impressive step onwards.”
—The Independent (UK)

“Rich and lush.”
—The Telegraph (UK)

“[Last Man in Tower] goes the distance. . . .In this complex and multi-layered novel, [Adiga] continues his project of shining a light on the changing face of India, bringing us a picture that is as compelling as it is complex. . .”
— Alex Clark, The Guardian (UK)

“Mr. Adiga captures with heartbreaking authenticity the real struggle in Indian cities, which is for dignity.  A funny yet deeply melancholic work, Last Man in Tower is a brilliant, and remarkably mature, second novel.  A rare achievement.” —The Economist

“Epic. . . .Last Man in Tower is like a prime-time soap opera with a social conscience.  Dickens has found an heir.”
The Sunday Business Post

“This writing is sheer beauty.”
New Zealand Herald

Last Man in Tower vibrates with energy and ideas, with anger and with life. [Adiga’s] writing has been labelled Dickensian.”
—New Zealand Listener

About the Author

ARAVIND ADIGA was born in Madras in 1974 and was raised in Australia. He studied at Columbia and Oxford Universities. A former correspondent in India for Time magazine, his articles have also appeared in such publications as the Financial Times, the Independent, and the Sunday Times. He lives in Mumbai.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By Len TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The accumulation of personal wealth at the expense of the group or community has been one of the great conflicts of modern times. Families and friends are separated by modern capitalism causing them to lose their connections and a source of important social and emotional support. Masterji is a retired schoolteacher whose wife has recently died as did his daughter some years ago. His remaining child, a son, is living in another part of the city and contact with him is infrequent. Masterji’s apartment located in Vishram, Tower A, is the last connection he has to his wife and daughter. It is also the location where his best friend, Mr. Pinto and his wife, Mr. Pinto live as well as most of his acquaintances. The Vishram community also provides him a continued sense of purpose because he tutors the young people there are school. When Dharmen Shah, a local builder and developer, offers the residents a very generous price for their apartments, they are very excited by the new world that material wealth will open to them. Everyone, that is, except Masterji. Money means nothing to him compared to his continuing proximity to friends and the last memories of his wife and daughter. The problem for the residents though is that everyone must agree to the sale. Otherwise, it cannot take place. The book reads a little bit like the play “Waiting for Godot” where the audience watches for an event that will never happen. More than once, I would look at how far I’d gone and how much was left in the book and wondered, where on earth is he going to take this? Fortunately, the power of the writing and the turmoil caused by the conflicting emotions created by Dharmen Shah’s offer keeps the story moving. Mr. Read more ›
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well-written with a touch of humour documenting the human stress of rebuilding and modernizing Mumbai. The characters are well developed and encompass a representative cross section of average person living and working in Mumbai.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Last Man In Tower Jan. 6 2012
By Pithy
Format:Hardcover
Mumbai immersion: many unique characters, florid fragrant similes, turns of phrase wafting out the sari. There are gems that snag like 'Eighteen years old. Never growing yet somehow picking up new things all the time' and 'A man's past keeps growing even when his future has come to a full stop.' These are unassumingly tucked away in passages to be glanced over. Could be a Tragedy with a demonic Greek chorus. Could be an Indian Corrie. However, it became unsettled & disturbing. Built to a dissonant chord and doesn't sit and rest, not sure what to make of it. Still, a fine writer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it! Dec 14 2011
Format:Hardcover
After reading the past two books by Aravind Adiga when his most recent novel came out I knew I had to pick it up. And so, after finishing this novel I must say I quite enjoyed it. In fact what I like about Adiga's books are that that a) they are all set in India and b ) when I read them I seem to learn a bit more about the country.

The short premise of this book. A very rich developer offers a whole bucket load of cash to a series of people living in a building, hoping to buy them out so he (the developer) and build a swanky new tower. And of course, there is one person who is on the fence on whether or not to jump ship. Hence the name of the book - Last Man in Tower.

This was a good book. I enjoyed it and could hardly put it down. Give it read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Read Oct. 24 2011
By ap2708
Format:Hardcover
Aravind Adiga has done it again. Last Man In Tower is a great follow up to The White Tiger.
And in many ways a better read than The White Tiger. Personally, Adiga has captured the spirit and the nuances of the people of suburban Mumbai like no other writer. I used to live to close to the neighbourhood he describes in this book. I couldn't put this book down.
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